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Rockets’ Russell Westbrook airs it all out in first appearance in NBA bubble

Russell Westbrook, Rockets

Russell Westbrook has finally landed in Orlando, and the Houston Rockets point guard talked at length about his experience after being diagnosed with the coronavirus last week.

Westbrook said he had no COVID-19 symptoms beyond a stuffy nose, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. But he did make one important distinction:

“Wearing a mask can be the difference between life and death, honestly,” said Westbrook. “People are dying from this virus each and every day, and it’s something we need to take very seriously.”

The end-to-end dynamo could not predict how long he will need to get in game shape, though head coach Mike D’Antoni was optimistic to get him back on the court as soon as Friday. Russ couldn’t help but make a quip about his playing status after spending the last few weeks in quarantine:

“I don’t have a feel for whether I can make a layup at this point,” Westbrook joked, according to ClutchPoints’ Salman Ali.

During his first meeting with the press, Westbrook wore one of the shirts his own brand made to pay homage to those who have fallen victim to police brutality:

The Rockets have been limited thus far in Orlando, missing James Harden for a week, new signing Luc Mbah a Moute for longer than that (he’s just now set to get to Disney), and dealing with an extended quarantine for Bruno Caboclo, who violated the NBA’s health and safety protocol by picking up food during his two-day confinement.

Luckily for them, they will have a week-long preseason to stretch the legs and get into the flow of things, now that the resumption of the 2019-20 season is merely a week away.

It might be a few days before Westbrook is back on the hardwood, but his health and motor will be essential to the Rockets’ playoff hopes. Getting some action in the inter-squad scrimmages will help too, as most players will need to loosen up with some fast-paced action before playing for those high stakes in the ensuing seeding games starting July 30.